This is one of the nation’s premier hot air balloon festivals at Zebulon’s Bennett Bunn Plantation. More than 40 balloon pilots and teams from across the nation attended.

3The WRAL Freedom Balloon Fest is also dedicated to our veterans and military families. The Army and Marines provided education to those who attended the event.

About the plantation. The Bennett Bunn Plantation is a historic farm near Zebulon, North Carolina, a suburb of Raleigh. The plantation consists of a two-story house built in 1833, barns, and 162 acres of farmland and forests. T4he property was owned by generations of the Bunn family until 2000 when Grace Hutchins, great-granddaughter of Bennett Bunn, sold the plantation for $1.9 million. The home is still used as a private residence and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.5

Bennett Bunn inherited the land from his father in the 1820s. He lived in a log cabin on the property until he had enough money to construct the house. With the help of 16 slaves, Bunn grew wheat and corn, and raised livestock. Each generation left the property to the youngest daughter. After Hutchins inherited the land, she renovated the house by installing electricity and plumbing, as well as adding a kitchen, sunroom, and bathrooms.


The Bennett Bunn house is an example of Federal architecture, a popular style for homes during the Antebellum period of the South. The driveway is lined with cedar trees that were planted in the 1920s.

During the Civil War, a robber threw a torch through a front window of the house. The mark left by the torch hitting the floor is still visible. A mantel clock that was given to the Bunn’s by a Union soldier is displayed in the house. The soldier had looted the clock from another location and was tired of carrying it. A memorial to two slaves that died in the 1860s is written on one of the walls. Five slaves that worked at the Bunn plantation are buried in a small cemetery on the property.78

About the horses.  At Bennett Bunn Plantation in Zebulon, NC, they breed, raise and race Thoroughbreds. The wide open, historic farm grounds make Bennett Bunn an exceptional candidate for such breeding.  They also keep the Clydesdales and Spotted Draft/Friesian-cross for carriage rides and Warmbloods and pony Hunter-Jumpers.


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This represents the balloon “glow”.